Marc Ferdinand Lou Calaycay is a Filipino bartender turned barista, and now a coffee roaster working at Papa Palheta (PPP) Coffee – a pioneer of specialty coffee in Singapore. Marc’s early career lead him down the path of a mixologist, aspiring to establish his own coffee-cocktail bar back home in Manila. His path diverted after he was introduced to the world of coffee. He quickly fell in love with the craft and decided to pursue a career in coffee.
When Marc Calaycay joined PPP Coffee as a barista in 2012, he was astonished by the sweet, complex flavors he found in specialty espresso. Over the course of his career, he has been an active member of the local coffee community; judging for the National Brewers Cup Championships, and a veteran of the Singapore AeroPress Championships.
“Coffee has played a huge part of my life; it is my bread and butter. I am passionate in my craft and aim to be professional in every aspect of my work”
With his years of experience behind the bar, Marc is now able to apply his knowledge to his work as a production roaster. As the helm of a large-scale coffee roastery, he admits that the pursuit of perfection can be demoralizing at times. He believes that an earnest approach to strive for excellence in all aspects of his work will instill a positive outlook of life. “At the end of the day, it is most important that I enjoy the fruits of my labour”.
Marc notes that it is reassuring to watch a new generation of coffee professionals driven by curiosity, eager to refine their knowledge and technical skills. While he is excited over the rapid growth in popularity of specialty coffee, he hopes consumers and baristas alike will not overlook the history, and appreciation of traditional coffee known as “Kopi”. “My go-to order at a traditional coffeeshop would be Kopi-O Siew Dai (black coffee with less sugar) as the taste is reminiscent of my childhood” Marc states as he recalls the rich, dark roasted nuances produced by the traditional methods of wok-roasting coffee with sugar and margarine.
On days off, he enjoys café hopping to explore different coffees and concepts. Marc is especially fond of the Singapore coffee scene as the saturated market creates a tight-knit community with familiar faces at every corner. Once international travel restrictions are lifted, he expects to experience more café culture abroad. He also interacts with the Filipino barista community in Singapore – they are a source of comfort for him when he misses home.
Marc Calaycay shares that his kids are the source of his inspiration.
“They are my happiness, and it keeps me going whenever I get to see them on video call”.
It has been two years since he last visited his family in Manila, Philippines. He hopes that the Coronavirus measures will ease off soon so that he may reconnect with them.